Sunday, May 25, 2014

From star to supporting role!

This pass few weeks has been literally 'hell' for me at work. For my colleagues in HQ New York, this 'hell' has been lasting months. But until this pass few weeks, I was always able to help them work out the positiveness of the situation.

I cannot believe that just about 1 month ago, I attended the Regional ICT workshop for UNDP in KL. And I felt so inspired, so eager to get it on and work on all the IT initiatives UNDP had in mind. We were being taught about the Cloud and how UNDP was going to go there. We were seeing Microsoft 360 and how we will utilize that to its full potential. We were talking strategic partnership. We saw ourselves up there pushing the organization into achieving greener offices, more efficient work processes, reaching out to far and beyond communities with just very simple hardware. We saw the role of IT and how with minimal cost the power IT can bring to the goals of UNDP. Wow....we were all geared up.

Then slightly more than a month later, we received the worse devastating news that UN as a whole does not understand such power of IT. They unfortunately still see IT as a supporting role to finance and projects and HR. From a pillar that supports the organization, IT has been reduced to a stone that forms an existing pillar.

Such redundancy really breaks my heart.

And what affects me more is that Shirin Hamid, my CTO's post has been demolished. In actual fact now, the IT deputy reports to an Administrative person.

I have great admiration for Shirin Hamid. She not only addresses her by name but remembers any issues or concerns that has been brought up to her attention by us. She takes time to talk to 'lowly' staff like us without making us feel we are lowly. She is small in size yet big in stature. The achievements she has accomplished as a person and thus bringing UNDP IT in the limelight as well is out of this world! I am sad that UNDP does not see that. And that UNDP will have lost a person such as she.

Looking at the new organigram, I shudder at the days to come. I see the positions that have been downgraded. I see the people that will need to move. I see the staff who went to US with a UN working visa and who are now out of job. I see the people who are laid off without any remuneration save for their unexpended leave. I see the number of people holding a certain grade and now they have to fight amongst themselves to retain their position.

My own supervisor, having been in US for close to 20 years with a UN working visa now finds she has to relocate to Malaysia. A Filipino citizen, a single mother with a daughter close to 18. She suddenly finds her life turning upside down.

My colleague with health issues has to find comfort in other doctors in a foreign country. Where in times of an emergency a phone call away to mum and dad will no longer be possible.

And they ask questions like "What am I still doing with UN?" and "For all I contributed to UN, this is how they treat me?" Sad but inevitable. Such is life, full of changes and uncertainties, especially working with the UN.

I think it's sad - from strategic partnership, we are reduced to such fate. Like a star come crashing down. Like brilliance we are slowly losing light.

Monday, May 12, 2014

Caylee learning Math

I have signed Caylee up for Eye Level Math. She started in May. Reason why we are starting so early is mainly because education wise, she has been really neglected. We sent her to kindy onnly this year and found that many have already been in kindy since age 3. Thus Caylee does have alot of catching up to do. The other reason is that we find Christopher's Eye Level Math standard slower than his primary 1. So, when it is not at least at par or better, the kid still struggles in school.

Caylee is overjoyed! She loves going to the same additional classes like her kor kor. And she is elated she has to do homework now. So much so she erases previously done homework and does it again and again. So much so, her Eye Level teacher has decided to give her 2 books of homework now.

The other class day, I sat myself in a corner to read my book while waiting for them to finish. I noticed at the corner of my eye Caylee coming out of the class. She did look around for a while but given that she didn't find me, she proceeded to the toilet on her own. On her way back, she caught a glimpse of me and waved. Then happily skipped back to class.

Simple acts of independence makes this mummy so happy!

The teacher commented she has picked up the routine so quickly. She knows that when she enters the class where to get her books and where to put her homework.

I pray that learning will always be a joy to Caylee and that I will always have the time to make her lessons enjoyable for her. I pray fervently that Caylee will take after my own heart in her love for reading too.

I can't believe she is just 4 years in this world. What other delights can I expect from my little girl!

Thursday, May 8, 2014

Standard 1 mid term exam

As I write it as 'mid term', I can't believe that it is indeed almost 6 months since my son started Primary 1. It is exam time now. And oh, what stress!

It's not so much the stress of expecting him to excel. Although I wish for him to do well. But the stress of teaching him, at least, what he is expected to know. I reckon it is the language that is the greatest barrier. When I compare the expectation from his BM teacher to that of his English, I am appalled at the discrepancy in the standard.

Whereas in BM, he has to learn nouns, proper nouns, adjectives and verbs, in English there is little emphasis on such grammar.

Thinking about my current predicament with Christopher, I think the entire education system is a total mess.

First there is this emphasis on Mandarin so we send our kids to good kindergartens that teach them relatively well in Mandarin. Then if we send them to SJK schools, we have to equip them better in their mandarin and continue the process through their primary years to keep up with the language.

If we send them to SK schools, then BM becomes a whole new language to them. We think we can help them since we are BM literate. However, the standard of BM in Primary 1 is rather high. Coupled with the lack of emphasis in kindy years.

We end up in a situation like mine. Keeping up with his mandarin basics outside of school. Struggling with learning BM which has been far neglected earlier. And yet continuing to correct his English so that it is grammatically correct.

I never would have considered AT ALL a kid being sent to tuition in primary years. But even if your kid is in SK schools, it looks like 90% of parents are sending their kids since Std 1 for tuition. As of now, I am still doing it myself with the help of my parents. It will not get impossible for me to teach him, at least. Since I am able to understand the mode of instruction. I will mark the day I send him for school work tuition in his primary years!